Aisha Raheem-Bolarinwa: Pushing Boundaries, Leveraging Technology for Agricultural, Medical Development 

Aisha Raheem-Bolarinwa: Pushing Boundaries, Leveraging Technology for Agricultural, Medical Development 

Aisha Raheem-Bolarinwa wears many hats. She is the founder, CEO, and vision director of Farmz2U, a digital platform revolutionising agriculture, and an OYW Ambassador for One Young World. Her journey began with a health scare in 2014, spurring her to prioritise healthier eating habits. This led her to uncover the challenges plaguing the food industry, igniting her determination to combat food waste and enhance nutritional intake.

Farmz2U, under Raheem-Bolarinwa’s leadership, addresses these issues by assisting farmers in crop planning, thereby curbing food wastage. The platform empowers farmers to make informed decisions about crop selection, budgeting, and profit targets. It also provides vital resources such as training guides, market insights, and access to financing and insurance. Raheem-Bolarinwa’s vision extends beyond farm management; she envisions a future where health-conscious consumers can use Farmz2U to create personalised meal plans and shop directly from local farmers.

Raheem-Bolarinwa’s entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there. In 2014, she founded Stealth Startup, aiming to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers in the natural food marketplace using technology. Her innovative approach caught the attention of the Royal Academy of Engineering, earning her a spot on the shortlist for the 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

Collaboration lies at the heart of Aisha’s endeavours. Farmz2U has already forged partnerships with commercial farmers and the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture’s farmer support program, expanding its reach to smallholder farmers. With each initiative, Raheem-Bolarinwa continues to push boundaries, leveraging technology to drive positive change in the agriculture and health sectors.

Jumia, Africa’s E-commerce Giant, Reports 64% Decrease in Operating Loss for 2023

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has released its earnings statement for the full year 2023, revealing a significant 64% decline in its operating loss compared to the previous year, totalling $73 million. However, the company experienced a 20% year-over-year decrease in gross merchandise value (GMV) to $750 million, attributed to currency devaluation across markets.

The currency devaluation also contributed to an 8% decline in revenue for Jumia, amounting to $186 million. Despite these challenges, Jumia remains optimistic about its path to profitability, citing positive results from transformational policies implemented in the previous year.

In efforts to streamline operations, Jumia underwent significant changes, including layoffs and discontinuation of unprofitable ventures like its food delivery service, Jumia Food.

Francis Dufay, Jumia Group’s CEO, Francis Dufay, highlighted the impact of high inflation rates and currency depreciation on customer purchasing power, necessitating the company’s transformation efforts.

Dufay emphasised the company’s leaner and more focused approach, achieved through cost-saving measures and strategic realignment. He expressed confidence in Jumia’s ability to return to growth in 2024 while further reducing losses, pointing to recent quarters’ performance as evidence of strategic progress and positioning for future growth. Jumia aims to concentrate its resources on its core physical goods business, anticipating revenue growth and improved margins in the coming year.

Mastercard, Glovo Combat Hunger, Boost Education in Africa

Mastercard, a global leader in technology and payments, has unveiled a partnership with Glovo, a multi-category app connecting users with essential services. The collaboration aims to confront hunger and enhance educational opportunities in underserved communities across Nigeria and Kenya.

The joint endeavour promises to deliver more than 300,000 meals to schoolchildren throughout the academic year, a crucial step towards alleviating poverty, malnutrition, and educational deficits in these regions.

Mastercard, renowned for its commitment to social responsibility and global equity, joins forces with Glovo to ensure that school-aged children receive nutritious meals, creating an environment conducive to learning and development. 

To maximise their impact, Mastercard has enlisted the support of local charities such as the Lagos Food Bank Initiative in Nigeria and Food4Education in Kenya. With every transaction made on the Glovo app, Mastercard pledges to donate funds to these organisations, facilitating the provision of meals to children in need.

This groundbreaking initiative, a pioneering effort in both West and East Africa, underscores Mastercard’s dedication to sustainable solutions that uplift communities and promote overall prosperity. Folasade Femi-Lawal, Mastercard’s Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa, emphasises the company’s mission to extend the benefits of the digital economy to one billion individuals, highlighting the initiative’s role in driving positive change.

Lamide Akinola, Glovo’s General Manager in Nigeria, echoes these sentiments, emphasising the transformative potential of partnerships between businesses in addressing social challenges.

Through this collaborative effort, Mastercard and Glovo aim to provide meals and inspire hope and happiness among children in underserved areas, fostering an environment conducive to their education and well-being.

Wakanow Partners MNTO to Unlock Immersive Travel Experiences 

Wakanow, Africa’s premier travel technology company, unveiled an unprecedented collaboration with the Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO), aiming to revolutionise travel to Morocco and showcase its vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning landscapes to African travellers.

This strategic alliance aligns with Wakanow’s mission to create unforgettable travel experiences and MNTO’s vision of positioning Morocco as a top destination in Africa. The partnership promises to offer travellers immersive cultural explorations, culinary adventures, outdoor wonders, and access to sports and entertainment events.

 Wakanow’s Group CEO, Bayo Adedeji, expressed excitement about the partnership, emphasising its significance beyond business and aiming to bring Moroccan culture closer to customers. Adedeji highlighted their commitment to expanding offerings and ensuring every journey becomes a memorable story.

The partnership signifies a major milestone in Wakanow’s quest to curate unique travel experiences that resonate with adventure and cultural curiosity. Through this collaboration, Wakanow plans to introduce tailored travel packages showcasing Morocco’s beauty, heritage, and vibrant culture.

Adel El Fakir, MNTO’s Director General, emphasised the shared dedication to promoting Morocco’s cultural diversity. He expressed enthusiasm about working with Wakanow, a partner that values the transformative power of travel and cultural exchange.

The partnership will commence with a series of initiatives to bring the magic of Morocco to life for travellers. From the bustling markets of Marrakech to the serene landscapes of the Atlas Mountains, Wakanow customers can expect a range of unconventional travel options offering deeper connections to the destinations.

As Wakanow solidifies its position in the travel industry, the partnership with MNTO underscores its commitment to enriching travel experiences with cultural depth and authenticity. Travellers can anticipate exploring Morocco in a way that celebrates its heritage, landscapes, and the warmth of its people, ensuring every journey becomes an unforgettable chapter in their travel diaries.

OpenAI Elevates AI Capabilities with Sora

OpenAI, the mastermind behind ChatGPT, has unveiled ‘Sora,’ a groundbreaking generative AI designed to transform short text descriptions into vividly realistic video clips. This innovative leap represents a significant advancement in artificial intelligence technology.

Sora can generate high-definition, movie-like scenes featuring multiple characters, diverse motions, and intricate background details based on concise or detailed descriptions or even still images. Additionally, the AI can “extend” existing video clips by filling in missing elements, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

Following in the footsteps of tech giants like Google and Meta, who have previously launched video-generating tools, OpenAI introduces Sora as its latest contribution to AI-driven content creation.

Announcing the tool’s launch via a post on X, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, invited followers to put Sora to the test by providing prompts for video creation. The response was enthusiastic, with users offering various prompts that resulted in the creation of several compelling videos.

In a blog post, OpenAI emphasised its mission to teach AI to comprehend and simulate the dynamic nature of the physical world, aiming to develop models that facilitate problem-solving through real-world interaction.

“Sora can produce videos of up to a minute in length while maintaining visual fidelity and adhering to the user’s specifications. The AI excels at generating intricate scenes featuring multiple characters, specific motions, and precise environmental details,” OpenAI stated.

The AI’s deep understanding of language enables it to accurately interpret prompts and craft compelling characters capable of expressing vibrant emotions. Moreover, Sora can generate multiple shots within a single video, effectively capturing diverse visual styles and character portrayals.

However, OpenAI acknowledged certain limitations of the current Sora model. The AI may struggle to simulate complex physics scenarios and understand specific cause-and-effect relationships accurately. Spatial details and temporal events could also challenge the AI’s comprehension.

Although Sora is not yet available to the general public, OpenAI is granting access to visual artists, designers, and filmmakers to gather feedback and refine the model to serve creative professionals better. This collaborative approach reflects OpenAI’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in AI technology.

FG, World Bank Unite to Revolutionise Broadband Connectivity

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank are pooling resources to secure a staggering $3 billion in funding to expand broadband connectivity across the nation. This ambitious initiative targets the deployment of an additional 120,000km of fibre optic cables, ushering in a new era of enhanced digital infrastructure and connectivity in Nigeria.

The announcement was made recently by Dr Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovations, and Digital Economy, during a pivotal stakeholders’ engagement event themed ‘Realising a Nigerian Vision of Broadband for All’.

Tijani expressed optimism that the necessary funds would be mobilised within the next two to three years, with active involvement from private sector stakeholders and implementation slated over three years.

Highlighting the critical importance of investing in digital backbone infrastructure, the minister underscored the imperative of ensuring affordable and equitable access to the digital space for all Nigerians, regardless of their location.

While Nigeria has already laid 3,035km of fibre optic cables, the plan seeks to scale up to 120,000 kilometres to ensure ubiquitous access to quality internet and digital services nationwide. 

The World Bank’s Regional Director for Infrastructure in West and Central Africa, Franz Drees-Gross outlined the project’s first phase, which entails laying 95,000km of fibre optic cables across Nigeria. This monumental endeavour is poised to enhance access to digital services and content nationwide significantly.

Drees-Gross commended Nigeria’s vibrant digital ecosystem, particularly in Lagos, and expressed the World Bank’s keen interest in supporting the nation’s efforts to secure funding for this transformative project. Plans to establish a digital national broadband fund are underway, with discussions centred on the most effective financing mechanisms to realise Nigeria’s broadband expansion goals. With Nigeria’s burgeoning digital landscape and strategic geographic position, the project holds immense potential to position the country as a regional hub for digital services in West Africa.

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